Cases of interventions in bicycle infrastructure reviewed in the framework of Bikeability

  • Published: Department Transport & Planning, The Dutch Reference Study, 2011
  • Authors: : K. van Goeverden and T. Godefrooij
  • Date Added: 05 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 05 Mar 2013
  • Format: pdf


The overall objective of the project was to increase the level of knowledge in relation to cycle based transport and thereby to contribute to more efficient and qualified urban planning and management.


The project activities were divided into five interrelated work packages (WPs):

WP1: Cycling behaviour and its preconditions analysed the determinants for cycling behaviour of individuals, such as motives, lifestyles, opportunities and constraints.

WP2: Environmental determinants for bike-ability linked GIS data with objective and subjective measures of cycling in relation to the conditions of selected neighbourhoods to develop a validated bike-ability index tailored to the Danish urban context, but applicable in other regions.

WP3: Choice modelling for simulation of bicyclist behaviour develops an agent based modelling approach to simulate the flow of individual bicyclists in urban areas as a response to changes to the urban environment and the level of and attitude to cycle transport.

WP4: Interventions to the cycling infrastructure analysed cycle infrastructure cases in the Danish municipalities and the Netherlands; their implementation and significance in terms of contribution to the promotion of cycling, and finally identification of infrastructure and elements of interventions that can help promote cycling significantly.

WP5: Planning Guidance and Dissemination serves the purpose of presenting the projects methodological advances, tools, and conclusions to policy-makers, planners and traffic engineers, as well as maintaining the dialog and interaction with end-users from the municipalities.

Key Findings:

  • Investments in cycle infrastructure have generally a larger impact on the qualitative perception than on measurable quantities. This is valid for both safety and cycle use. Generally, the ‘perceived’ improvement of safety is not (fully) reflected by the observed decrease in RTIs and casualties.

  • Two sided one-directional cycle tracks are on average experienced as more safe than one sided two-directional cycle tracks.

  • One important point is that the evaluated Dutch interventions were implemented in the situation that the cycle was a common mode and a reasonably good cycle infrastructure was already available. In countries that start ‘from scratch’ with low cycle use and a poor cycle network, interventions that promote cycling may have different (probably larger) impacts.

  • With regard to road safety the researchers made a distinction between ‘objective’ road safety which can be measured by the number of personal injury RTIs and fatalities, and the ‘perceived’ or ‘subjective’ road safety: how safe do cyclists feel.

  • There was a shift from cyclist-motorist RTIs to cyclist-cyclist RTIs, cyclists-pedestrian RTIs and single cyclist RTIs. The latter types of RTIs are on average of course less serious than the cyclist-motorist RTIs they replaced.

  • In general the researchers concluded that the demonstration cycle routes had no measurable impact on the number of RTIs with personal injury, and this was a disappointing conclusion.

  • Generally users felt safer than before, allowing them to cycle more undisturbed and feeling that they can progress more smoothly.

  • Although road safety is considered to be vital by both cycle users and policy makers, there was a remarkable contrast between the impacts of the facilities on the ‘actual’ and the ‘perceived’ road safety: road safety data showed no or very minor impacts, whereas the ‘perceived’ road safety improved substantially. Policy makers were disappointed by the marginal impact of the facilities on the ‘objective’ road safety figures.

  • The research also suggested that one should be careful with applying one-sided two directional cycle tracks: this type of facility can have a negative impact on both ‘actual’ (objective) and ‘perceived’ (subjective) road safety of cyclists. Two sided one-directional cycle tracks are on average experienced as more safe than one sided two-directional cycle tracks. Thus one sided two-directional tracks should only be applied if there are clear advantages such as diminishing the need for crossing busy roads.

  • In Delft cycle paths, which were already the safest kind of link, strengthened their position as safest facility for cycling, and cycle lanes, which were by far the most unsafe kinds of cycling facility, came close to the safety level of roads with mixed traffic, but remained the most unsafe kind of cycling facility.


Objective and subjective safety, cycling infrastructure.


Compares different types of cycling infrastructure with control sites.